Bitcoin energy use in Iceland set to overtake homes, says local firm

Iceland May Introduce Bitcoin Mining Tax to Counter Soaring Energy Consumption

Bitcoin mining is booming in Iceland. Iceland's National Energy Authority stated that this was more than households use on the island nation of 340,000.

In the United States, when mining companies began moving en masse to Washington to take advantage of the state's cheaper electricity, the data infrastructure of one small county became quickly overloaded and now requires an addition of 100 megawatts.

Currently, Iceland's Bitcoin mining activities utilize around 840 gigawatt hours of electricity to power computers and cooling systems annually, at the same time most of the country's homes use around 700 gigawatt hours.

With the recent skyrocketing of the price of bitcoins, interest has exploded.

"If all these projects are realised, we won't have enough energy for it", Sigurbergsson tells the BBC.

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According to The Associated Press, McCarthy is considering the possible taxation of bitcoin mining firms such as the one in Keflavík.

Iceland has seen a significant increase in the number of new data centers, as most of the mining firms are seeking to flaunt their green credentials. As a result, transaction involves an huge number of mathematical calculations, which in turn occupies vast computer server capacity - which requires a lot of electricity. The whole country is nearly entirely powered by renewable energy, an abundance gained from Iceland's extensive investments into wind, geothermal and hydroelectric power, as Ars Technica explained.

But many other analysts say the real figure is likely smaller, and several experts recently told The Washington Post that bitcoin - now the world's biggest cryptocurrency - used no more than 0.14 percent of the world's generated electricity, as of last December. But implementing such changes for the leading currency, bitcoin, won't be as easy because it is inherently decentralized. Iceland is an attractive place for Bitcoin data centers to build because almost 100 percent of its energy comes from renewable sources.

Smari McCarthy of Iceland's Pirate Party, an anti-establishment political party that entered Iceland's Parliament after the 2008 financial crash, brought up the possibility of taxing any profits made by Bitcoin mining, considering that a mining company falls under the category of "creating value" within the country.

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